"You wanna know how to get Capone? They pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. *That's* the *Chicago* way! And that's how you get Capone. Now do you want to do that? Are you ready to do that? I'm offering you a deal. Do you want this deal?" -Jim Malone, The Untouchables
That quote above pretty much sums up my feeling for this week for the Linfield/Hardin-Simmons game. Our ‘Cats have to be willing to put it all on the line and do whatever it takes to win this ball game. Both nationally ranked teams come into this game at a 0-1 mark and both are in big need of this win.
The Cowboys come in ranked 19th in the D3football.com poll and our ‘Cats sit at the 15 slot. Both are traditional powers in their respective regions (HSU-South & Linfield-West) and both are looking for a few answers coming into Saturday’s contest. You can read Linfield Sports game preview here: Return Engagement and Hardin-Simmons preview here: Week 2
Here are some areas that I believe are vital for the ‘Cats to come out victorious.
In Linfield’s last two losses (Whitworth & WOU) there have been a fumble in each game that was returned for TD by the Wolves and Rats. That just can’t happen this week. I’m not so stupid to think turnovers will not happen but we have to take care of the rock and not give up free points to the Cowboys. It’s a pretty simple tenant of football; the more you turn it over the less chance you have to win.
Linfield does not need to turn into Air Force and become a ground team but I would love to see our ‘Cats be more effective running the ball. We’ll control more clock and just open up the passing game even more. No knock on HSU but WOU’s front seven was flat out good. So if we have similar struggles this week then my level of concern about the run game is going to rise.
HSU spent the first game trying to figure out who was going to replace long time starter Jordan Neal and according to HSU’s press release it looks like they’ve settled on sophomore, Justin Feaster, who went 12-20 for 157 yards and 2 TD’s in their opening week loss to LaCrosse. I feel good about our DB’s ability to handle the deep ball but we need a better rush this week to keep the young signal caller off balance and not allow the ‘Cats to get chewed up in the short game.
Limit HSU big plays/tackling:
It seemed last year that the Cowboys moved down the field with multiple 20-30 yard strikes and we all know that HSU WR, Mychal Carrillo turned a 5 yard loss on a WR screen into a dazzling 66 yard TD to open up the 2nd half. I don’t think I need to elaborate anymore in why tackling is important.
It obvious that our offense is in a much better place this season headed into HSU than 2006. The Cowboys have had two weeks to prepare and will be much sharper this week than their season opener. I expect the game to be hotly contested but I believe our experience and playmakers in the passing game will be too much for their younger DB’s. This is beyond a must win for Linfield in terms of playoffs and moving our season forward and I think our ‘Cats will rise to the occasion. ‘Cats by 10.
BTW….for peat’s sake I hope they let this girl get into HSU or she just might have had to go to McMurry.